Gov, Party Call For Indicted Secretary Of State To Step Down
Charlie White Charged With 7 Felonies
6:38 AM, Mar 4, 2011
Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was indicted Thursday on seven felony counts, including voter fraud and perjury, in an investigation that began last year, before he was elected.White was booked and released Thursday evening from the Hamilton County Jail on three counts related to vote fraud, one count of fraud on a financial institution, one count of theft and two counts of perjury, 6News' Joanna Massee reported.Gov. Mitch Daniels issued a statement Thursday saying White should step down from his duties during the proceedings.It would be neither credible nor appropriate for the states top elections official to continue to perform his duties while contesting criminal charges, some of them under the very laws the secretary of state implements," Daniels said. "I have consulted with each of the other statewide elected officials and our judgment about this is unanimous.But White made no mention of giving up his office in a statement released shortly after.
"While disappointed in the grand jurys decision, I will cooperate fully in the upcoming judicial process. I have confidence in the system and I believe the evidence will prove that I did not intentionally break any laws," he said. "I will continue to do the job I was elected to do and carry on serving the needs of Hoosier taxpayers through the Secretary of States office."White admitted that he voted in Hamilton County in the May 2010 primary using his ex-wife's address but claimed it was a simple mistake.After the May vote, White was forced to give up his seat on the Fishers Town Council amid a clamor from Democrats to prosecute him for voter fraud.The theft charge stems from White accepting a salary while he was on the Fishers Town Council when he shouldn't have because of a residence issue, officials said."Basically, if you look at the entire indictment, what it says is he engaged in a course of conduct to deceive the voters, to deceive the town of Fishers," said Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler. "The more serious charge of fraud on a financial institution has to do with representations he made when securing a mortgage loan."White, a Republican, was elected to the Secretary of State post in November, defeating Democrat Vop Osili.Democrats are also calling on White to resign."The judicial system has validated what we have believed all along -- Charlie White should never have been on the ballot as a candidate for public office," said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker. "Much like his voting record, White's entire campaign was a fraud. This situation is deeply embarrassing for the state of Indiana and our democratic process."Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb released a statement Tuesday saying, "What we learned today is disappointing. We think it's appropriate Secretary of State Charlie White take a leave of absence from his official duties until the legal process reaches a conclusion."Former Secretary of State Todd Rokita, a Republican who is now representing Indiana's 4th District is Congress, also called on White to step down during the proceedings.White can stay in office unless he is convicted of a felony. If that happens, the governor would name a successor.Sigler said the charges against White are serious and not politically motivated."If you're going to violate the law, you're going to be prosecuted, whether you're a secretary of state or the guy who lives down the street," he said. "It's no different."